Tag: maryland science center

Where to Watch the Transit of Venus in Baltimore


Before they drew their famous boundary line between the north and south, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were charged with observing the 1761 Transit of Venus to get measurements to help determine the distance from the earth to the sun… but they were way-laid by a French man-of-war and never made it to their intended observational site. Which was too bad, since the Transit of Venus is an exceedingly rare astronomical event — it won’t happen again until 2125.  So get your telescopes and special glasses ready, Baltimore, because today marks the last chance in your lifetime that you’ll be able to see Venus move across the sun, and we happen to be in prime viewing area.

If you don’t happen to have your own astronomical observation tools, we’ve found a few spots where you can watch the transit in the company of experts and amateur enthusiasts:

Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Campus:  This one has the most proper nouns. Join the Astrobiology Forum and Maryland Space Grant Observatory at the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy for an evening of Venus-themed events. Our favorite local heartthrob/Nobel prize winner Adam Riess will join other Hopkinites to talk about the importance of transits like this one. There will also be many options for viewing:  personal telescopes, paper projections, and a live feed from Hawaii.

Today, 3.14, is Pi Day. Get it?


Today marks the celebration of the mathematical constant, Pi, which is used to calculate the circumference of a circle.

The Maryland Science Center celebrated everything Pi, from eating pie to reciting pi, to exposing the secrets of Pi. Dangerously Delicious Pies even donated pies for a party there. Pi(e) Day gets even sweeter because it’s also Albert Einstein’s birthday, who would be 133 years old today.

How will you celebrate pi?



Will "Laser Rock" Still Draw a Crowd?


Sure, the night sky is beautiful, but can it compare to the music of the Beatles accompanied by an illustrative laser light show? You can find out for yourself this month at the Maryland Science Center’s Davis Planetarium as depictions of Orion and Cassiopeia make way for Laser Pink Floyd, Laser Metallica, Laser U2, Laser Beatles and others.

A “laser rock” planetarium show is a novel anachronism today: old-fashioned high-tech. It’s not as if we all have these machines in our house now, but is it more exciting than Avatar in 3-D? Maybe, but for parents it could offer a refreshing change from sometimes insufferable “family films.” You get an hour of listening to what may very well be some of your favorite music, while the kids are mesmerized by the brightly colored lasers. And at eight bucks a ticket it’s about the price of a movie and it’s something that certainly won’t look the same on your iPhone.

Rating the Inner Harbor Attractions


No one asked us our opinion, but we thought we’d weigh in anyway on the nine proposals before the Baltimore Development Corporation for attractions to increase interest in the Inner Harbor, that tarnished old Baltimore jewel.  Descriptions below compiled from The Baltimore Sun

Beach volleyball courts on Rash Field.

* * * * * Love the simplicity. Inexpensive and green too!  Volleyball tourneys are sure to attract a crowd.

Eighteen-hole miniature golf course on Rash Field.

* * Miniature golf is good clean fun for the family, but it can be riff-raff-y for teenagers and young adults. And is miniature golf something that will really motivate adults on date night to head to the Inner Harbor?

A 200-foot “observation wheel” at the end of Pier 5. 

* * * * This is a Ferris wheel, plain and simple. Although we love the classic silhouette of a Ferris wheel along the sky, we’ve all been on Ferris wheels and a bigger one won’t get the crowds to the Inner Harbor. Isn’t the pro trapeze school nearby enough carnival juice for one tourist-y urban setting? We’d favor this more if there weren’t better proposals to consider.

A 27-seat “trackless” train from the Inner Harbor’s north shore to the carousel near the Maryland Science Center and Rash Field.

* * * A nice alternative, especially on a hot, humid Baltimore summer day, but ultimately not enough pizzazz.

A trampoline, a 200-foot “observation wheel,” a carousel and miniature golf course, as well as facilities for wall climbing, rappelling and slides, among other things, for Rash Field, West Shore Park and other areas. 

* * Sounds like PlayLand. 

Sky trail rope course, location unspecified.

* * * A little dull. Lukewarm.

The aerophare between Harborplace’s Light Street Pavilion and the Baltimore Visitor Center. 

* * * * * This unusual “flying lighthouse” offering panoramic views of the city is getting the most buzz and for good reason.  We have no idea what it is!  We’re already curious! Deemed Baltimore’s smaller version of the Eiffel Tower by the project’s developer. 

An aerial tram ride and zip line from Federal Hill to the Baltimore Visitor Center.  

* * * * This gondola lift-like air tram poses the biggest threat to the aerophare. Sounds like fun and unusual enough for visitors and to try on your own.

A variety of activities, including a 60-foot tower for rock climbing, zip lines, a three-person giant swing, kayak tours or land-based scavenger tours and a “team building” center. Terrapin proposes to use Rash Field, West Shore Park and the waterside plaza in front of the Maryland Science Center

* * Okay, you lost us at “team building center.”  Sounds like a work seminar. 

Which is your favorite?